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Saturday February 14, 1976

Valentine's Day. Get up at 11.30 and give Carole her Valentine's card in person. Mine hasn't arrived and she's worried about the whereabouts of it. It arrives in the afternoon. I also received a card from Christine, which is a birthday card for a one-year old and it has me in stitches. Get no others, but it's two better than last year at least which proved Valentinecardless.

Mum and Dad go out after lunch and John messes about with his car whilst Maria, Lynn and Sue go bridesmaid dress purchasing. Mrs Macdonald has taken it upon herself to decide what everybody is wearing at the forthcoming wedding.

Down to the Hare tonight after collecting Carole from Oakridge Castle. Mrs Phillips is a bit ratty about Carole not going home last night but at least she's speaking which is a gigantic step towards re-establishing diplomatic relations.

After the Hare Carole, Christine B and Chris and I go to Bingley and then up to Oakwood Hall which is a laugh. I get rather pissed. The four of us pile back to Pine Tops for coffee and a riotous session follows in the lounge where CB takes a fancy to Mum's new sheepskin rug. Mama is roused and shouts down saying "it sounds like a fairground". Not another word was spoken.


Friday February 13, 1976

Friday the Thirteenth. I'm not superstitious at all but just thought I'd mention it.

After a hard day at the office I find refuge and solace at the Hare & Hounds. John takes me down at 7.30 and I stand with Stephen Barstow, who hadn't heard of John's insignificant item of news. I do down to collect Carole. The Dowager Lady Phillips is on her usual sharp form and tries to make me feel small, in her usual smiling fashion, saying that John looks years older than me & is obviously more mature. I agree entirely with her which throws her off track. Leave for the Hare with Carole by my side.

Chris, Christine, Peter M, Andy & Linda, Carol Smith and a slim-line Christine D are out in force and a good night is had by all.

Peter ascertained his view that we should still go on holiday together despite John and Chris backing down. We will have a good time together, despite Christine B's jokes, and two weeks in the sun will be shear heaven. It's something to look forward to on these shitty, cold, freezing February nights.

Carole and I creep into the tap room for a traditional quick one and at eleven I don't want her to leave me and so I drag her onto a bus with me and bring her home.

Sit with Sue and Pete watching a useless Vincent Price film in which he was transformed into an Edward Heath-like fly and flitted about strangling undertakers. It was in black and white too, which didn't add to the excitement one bit.

Everyone deserted us at about midnight and what followed was a cosy little three hour session on the good old settee. The things that article of furniture could tell if only it had a tongue beneath one of its cushions. Dad disturbed us at 3am coming in for his supper.


Thursday February 12, 1976

A wet bright day. At the YP Kathleen has a phone call to say the 1975 edition of Burke's Peerage is waiting to be collected at WH Smith's. I'm round there like a shot and return with the bound volume where, to my horror, I see that it is in fact a revised edition of the 1970 volume, andf even smaller because the royal section now forms a separate book. I think it's a disgrace, and at £38 it certainly isn't worth it. However, before taking it back I photostated the supplement in the front of the volume listing all the peers who have died since 1970, and proceed to amend our tatty volume myself. I then re-wrapped the book and took it back to Smith's. Devious I know.

Elton John is coming to the Grand Theatre Leeds on April 29-30 and Sarah, with her boyfriend Alan, Carol and her sweetheart, Eileen and Michael and Carole and I are going along to lend our support. Tickets are £3 each and we all payed today to get it over with. I'm not an absolute Elton John fanatic but I am curious to see how he performs on stage. The girls in the office will be clamouring to see Carole, because she's always been a mysterious voice on the other end of the phone. They'll be more interested in Carole than in Elton John.

Get home at 5.30 for fish and chips and chocolate cake and gallons of tea.

The Henry Jenkins deal is going through with great promise. Barkers accountants and valuers are working around the clock and we'll have a decision in two weeks.

John and I go down to the Hare at 7.30 and when he goes to Maria's half an hour later I go to Carole's. We have a romantic evening in the Hare and spend an hour in the tap room where all the locals seem to know us now. She really is cheerful and happy.



Wednesday February 11, 1976

I get up at two minutes to 8 and discover that I've mislaid Jim Rawnsley somewhere. A thin layer of snow covers the ground and John has some difficulty getting (his car) up the Blackwell's drive, and I find myself shovelling ice and snow like Hell, whilst he scatters grit from a bucket.

Catch a bus to Leeds and arrive at the YP just before nine o'clock feeling tired, run-down and shagged out.

See in the papers that Eleanor Dixie, daughter of the late Sir Wolstan Dixie, 13th Baronet, is going to claim the title for herself. She fails to se why women are excluded from holding peerages and baronetcies. I'm in total agreement with this. In fact I decide to write to the Garter King of Arms or someone to lodge my strong approval of Miss Dixie's claim. The Equal Opportunities Act should really have ended this discrimination when it came into force. Opening the peerage to both sexes will help slow down the rate of extinctions, and that can't be a bad thing. Certain ancient titles can of course he inherited by either sex, but these only number 14 or 15, and the total number of peerages amount to over 500 I think.

Meanwhile: back to the office. At lunchtime I still feel listless and washed-out & so I seek an audience of Kathleen, and she tells me to go home. Eileen thinks I'm joking and thinks I'm secretly meeting someone in town, but I get the 2.30 bus out of Leeds.

Lynn and Dad are in at home. Poor Lynn is still one of the unemployed 'school-leaver' types and she says that her qualifications are too good for most offices where she's applied for jobs. They all want dumb, large-breasted blondes, with pea-like brains, just to make the tea and type envelopes. Lynn just isn't the office junior type. She feels desperate really because she's not a lazy sort of kid and staying at home all day just revolts her.

I sit in the lounge with a cup of tea browsing through Burke's Peerage planning my line of attack to get all these wronged would-be peeresses acknowledged.

I got in the bath at 8.30 and Carole came round at 9 o'clock to see if I am still in the land of the living. She goes at 9.20. I stand and watch her skip happily down the lane.


Tuesday February 10, 1976

A Spring-like day and everyone seems to think that winter's gone for another year - or at least everyone in the office feels this is so.

Sarah sees in one of the papers that Elton John is on at the Grand Theatre on April 29, and after contacting the place she tells me the tickets range from £2 to £3. I shall have to contact Carole on this subject and see if she fancies seeing the midget singer in the flesh. No doubt millions of his fans will turn up on the day in question and hog all the tickets.

Keeping my ever watchful eye on the peerage I see today that a prospective duke is engaged to be married. Lord Settrington, grandson and next-but-one in succession to the Duke of Richmond is set to marry a certain Sally Clayton.

Home at 5.30 to roast beef & Yorkshire puddings with Mum, Dad, Lynn, David & John. Maria bought her wedding dress on Saturday.

David and Lynn are in a roving mood. We meet Carole and go to the Hare at 9.30 after seeing 'Fawlty Towers'. We sit for about an hour chatting about what things will be like in 40 years time and discussing Garibaldi biscuits, which Lynn has never heard of. Carole, poor soul, just cannot grasp my sense of humour at all, and at times it becomes very trying having to explain everything in great detail. Dave brings Lynn & I home at 11 o'clock and I mess about doing sod all for an hour or so.


Monday February 9, 1976

A brighter day and I go to work without that revolting, black imitation leather coat for the first time since the bleak, bone-chilling winter set in - all those months ago.

John & Maria went down to the Silverdale estate again today and put down a deposit, or something, on a house there. I am puzzled though because John came back saying that the builders cannot install central heating in the property until July, when Maria will be 18. I fail to see what Maria's age has to do with the plumbing arrangements. The house won't be ready until May/June, & so they'll have to live with Jim & Molly for a couple of months or so.

Stuart rings from York to say that Brummels will let us all in on February 20, if I want to arrange a select coach party for that date._______. To think that Phyllis Whitethighs, heir to the Whitethigh's chain of supermarkets will be engaged in just over two weeks time! Everyone seems to be falling to this dreaded disease which seems to snatch away young people in the prime of life. Surely some cure could be found to rid the land of it? Tighter quarantine laws would help for a start, because this 'engagementomania' as it is scientifically termed, is very widespread on the Continent and the wops are somehow carrying it over with them on the Channel ferries and hovercrafts.

Carole rings at about 8.45. The Old Man and Lady Phillips are still not speaking to her and she's obviously upset by it. Mum thinks they may be pining for an invitation to attend the wedding of the decade.

Saw Susan George in quite a good film and (to) bed at something after midnight.



Sunday February 8, 1976

Wake up at 9am when Uncle Harry announces from the foot of the stairs "breakfast is served, and I'm just going out for the milk." I lay with head pounding listening to Mum laughing in the next room. David proceeds to fall out of his bunk and onto the top of me, and Peter lays in bed chanting ditties that would make even the lewdest of rugby song fans blush.

Have toast and marmalade for breakfast and discuss the hazy events of last night. Harry and I have the same political views entirely.

At about 10.30 we set off on a tour of Cumbria. Harry, Carole and I in the first carriage, Lynn and Dave in the second, and Mum, Dad, Sue & Pete in the third.

We get as close as we can to Windscale Nuclear Power Station, and also visit the site where Uncle H is to have a caravan. He may get a job at Windscale, but I can forsee only danger and the prospect of nuclear holocaust ahead if Harry Rhodes is let loose there. Perhaps Henry Kissinger should be told before it is too late.

Spend an hour or two in the pub before Harry pays for a great chicken lunch. He only eats a mouthful and is taken ill by it. He's in a bad way.

Back to Ravenglass for 3.30 and we all go down to the beach. Carole and I go for a walk and she has hysterical fits when I accidentally push her into a tributary of the River Esk. I can see Harry looking at Carole when we're in the car because she never opens her mouth. He thinks something is wrong, & cannot understand she's on quite a different wave-length to him. She is blinded by words consisting of more than four letters, and Harry tends to use these long words rarther a lot.

Every time I say goodbye to Harry I fear it may be the last time because he's such a frail, old lad for 53.

Leave at about 4.30 and have uncomfortable, cramped journey home with David. Carole comes to Pine Tops until 9.30 and then I see her onto a bus homeward.


Saturday February 7, 1976

Up at 8.50am which must be the earliest I've been up on a Saturday since I gave up Saturday mornings at the YP last Jan.

Have a bath and get a bus to Carole's. I catch her with a cigarette. She says she was only smoking because she thought I wasn't going to turn up. If she ever gives up I will eat my right ear.

Go to Otley market and buy a £3.95 waist coat which matches my levi-type jeans, and buy a film for my camera.

We got off the bus at Hawksworth Lane and Carole left her suitcase in the luggage rack and we almost lost it for good, but her presence of mind retrieved it within seconds of us alighting.

Set off for Uncle Harry's at 1pm. Stop for a few drinks in Skipton and arrive at Ravenglass at 4.30 or thereabouts. After roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in his wonderful little cottage we go to a local pub - all nine of us - and stay until after 11pm. Carole doesn't say much and I think she finds it hard to communicate with Uncle Harry, who is perhaps too 'deep' for her.

Back at the cottage Harry puts on a Spanish record and raves about it all night. By 1am everyone - except me - are shagged out, and drifting off to different sleeping spots, but Uncle H and I sit by the fire until 4.30 to solve the problems of the world.

He says he won't be around for much longer and if he's still here in five years it will be a miracle. I tell him he is not an alcoholic, but he says he's seen hundreds of men like him on mortuary slabs and that he most certainly is one. 'You see, Michael' he said 'you can tell an alcoholic not by what he drinks, but by what he doesn't eat.'

I do know that Harry has the apetite of a sparrow with stomach cancer. I fear for him very much. Typical, that out of all my uncles my favourite one has to have suicidal ambitions. He's not too late to be cured, but he hasn't the will to live. Other than this we talk about Margaret Thatcher, Airey Neave (who he says is the real power behind Mrs T), communism in Britain, fascism, King Juan Carlos, holidays in Spain, Mr Jeremy Thorpe, homosexuals, and Harold Macmillan. And throughout we have the Spanish LP banging away in the background keeping a good many of the guests upstairs awake.



Friday February 6, 1976

Twenty-four years ago today Princess Elizabeth learned in Kenya that she had become Queen of the United Kingdom & Head of the Commonwealth, &c.

A night at home in what seems like the first time in many, many years. John took me down to the bus stop at 8.30 and I waited for a few minutes for Carole, who comes on the bus. We walked up the lane together and sat watching television with Mum, Dad, Sue and Peter. Some bright spark suggested going to the off-license for a few bottles and for fish and chips. The venture cost me and Mum £3 between us, and I decide it would have been cheaper to go get drunk in the Hare & Hounds.

I attempted to review my financial situation tonight and decide that £10 a week hidden away will give me my annual holiday without much trouble.

I rang Denny about John and Chris cancelling, and she says they have definately lost their deposits but I insist that Peter and I still want to go. Admittedly, the wedding and other events will make this year quite expensive, but I don't see why I should have to call off my holiday.

Lynn and Dave get back from the Hare & Hounds at about 10.30 and we all watch a Marx Brothers film which is hilarious. Groucho is still fantastically funny, whereas the rest of the gang are dated and quite humourless now.

Carole is taken home by Dave at 1am or 2am.


Thursday February 5, 1976

Another wet, horrible day. Work was a load of crap too. Left at 4pm after working through lunch and travel home in daylight which is unusual.

Carole rang me at work whilst I was out of the office. Eileen made it sound urgent and so I rang C at Bradford. She didn't want anything in particular but reminded me she's coming to my place straight from work. (By 'straight from work' of course she means straight after she's spent half the evening round at Maria's gossiping.) Women!

Nothing in the news other than the Jeremy Thorpe affair again, which is getting boring now. The Press get onto a good thing and then go and ruin it by ramming it down our throats.

Carole comes at 6.30 and I make her beans on toast. We then watch 'Top of the Pops' together with Mum & Dad and at 8 0'clock get a bus to the Hare. After messing about for half an hour in the lounge we go through to the tap room where we win £1 on the domino lottery.

Carole is something of a celebrity in the Hare & Hounds tap room because she's the only woman there under 50 years of age and under 18 stone, and the locals look upon her as a second Jayne Mansfield or Raquel Welch.


Wednesday February 4, 1976

Efficient day at the office because Kathleen is at the Doncaster office for the day visiting the Vivien Nicholson-type female who came over here for the week not too long ago.

Sarah is in high spirits and I may be thick - you've probably known all along - but I think that sometimes she quite fancies me. Don't get me wrong. I've no plans to involve myself with her. No plans at all. Carole is the one for me at the moment.

I write to Carole again (I wrote yesterday) and spend all lunchtime at it.

Sarah and Eileen leave at 4 o'clock and I work with Carol until 4.30.

Marita is on page 1 of the EP! Pictured with her postman. Evidently he sent her a card on her birthday, or something, and her Dad was so touched he wrote to Malcolm Barker, &c &c.

Jeremy Thorpe is asking to resign now (as leader of the Liberal party) and the whole business is becoming more and more involved.

I don't see why he should resign because he's homosexual. If we can have a woman leading the Conservative party and a man leading the Labour party it seems only right and proper that the leader of the Liberal party should be something in-between. The man is a fool for offering to resign in the first place. In these promiscuous times I can't see the public objecting to the sexual escapades of a politician. (I do really. Just trying to write something controversial).

But seriously, Jeremy Thorpe may be a first class politician and I feel sad that he shouldn't have to go simply because he fancies young men with nice legs. After all, just look at Edward Heath. He is as bent as a £12 note but most of the Tory party continue to idolise him two years after his death. They'll be telling us next that Margaret Thatcher is a lesbian.

Home for tea at 5.30 and attempt to get in the bath afterwards which is foolish because John and Susan are on the same caper and they show more cunning that I do.

Carole rings twice. The first time we just have a friendly chat, but on the second call she's near to tears complaining about the way her mother and father treat her. They really are a pair of swines and I tell her to be more ruthless with them. The poor thing is far too soft and servile to fight back. She is coming to tea tomorrow night and we're going out afterwards most likely.

I go to bed with a cup of cocoa at about 10.30 to escape the winter olympics on TV.


Tuesday February 3, 1976

Busy day at work. Kathleen gets on my nerves at times. She fusses over such ridiculous things. Frustrated - that's what she is. A man would do her the world of good. Maybe a little crude, but true.

Sarah says Delia is planning for the day when I move into her place as a lodger. I thought they were having me on about this, but I actually think they would like me to stay there Monday-Friday when Mum & Dad go to Kirby Malzeard. That's if they ever do go to the Henry Jenkins Inn.

Carole rings this evening - 8.50 actually. She has one of her headaches. These crop up every couple of months or so. I can't figure it out how they keep recurring.

George Waite calls in to see John & is surprised to hear that J is going to beat him to the altar. George is getting married on June 19.

See "Fawlty Towers" starring John Cleese which is fantastically funny. Much better than 'Monty Python' because it's much more mature.

This Jeremy Thorpe affair makes me laugh. I'll write more on the subject later, but you mark my words when I say Jeremy is more involved than he cares to admit. Much, much more.

Bed at about 11.30.



Monday February 2, 1976

Up at 7.50 to discover my hair is standing on end and jutting out in all directions as though I've been electrocuted. No amount of brushing or combing restores it to the norm. Hell, it was only cut on Thursday!

Monday is usually quite busy with Sundays national newspapers and the rest, but by 2.30 I manage to have everything under control.

Delia Collis sent an estimate for John & Maria's flowers and it's very good really. Maria's bouquet will be £6 and Libby's, Lynn's and Sue's will be £3. Delia will do a good job.

See in the EP that Dorothy, Countess of Halifax died today aged 90. The old girl once lived at Hickleton Hall, near Goldthorpe, where Mrs Wagstaffe worked as a domestic servant 60 or 70 years ago. (Mrs Wagstaffe was our aged next door neighbour at Goldthorpe 10 years ago). Old Lord Halifax was Foreign Secretary at the time of Munich and almost became Prime Minister in May 1940 instead of Churchill.

Carole rang at lunchtime and we had a nice chat.


Sunday February 1, 1976

4th Sunday after Epiphany. Don't wake up until afternoon. Mum, Carole, Lynn, Susan and Maria are downstairs preparing something to eat and seem to be getting on poor David's nerves.

John is like a corpse in his bed. He was actually violently sick in my new shoes, both there in the room swimming in veg.

The party was a great success though and John and Maria received a nice start to their future life together.

Edith Blackwell called round to see how we fared last night and she recounts, over sausage rolls and cold chicken legs, how Ernest lost his false teeth in the festivities.

At 2.30 Carole and I went for a long trek over Hawksworth Moor and almost froze to death in the process. My fingers were ice cold even in gloves and I've never known a day to be so cold and miserable. We got back at 4.30 before it began to grow dark.

I cannot understand why I wanted to finish with Carole on Friday night because we normally get on so well together, and today was no exception. I seem to be able to change my mind about something in the space of a matter of minutes.

We all watched television, and I fell asleep in the chair which is unusual for me.

John and Maria went down to Silverdale to look at a semi-detached house and came back with favourale reports. They'll get off to a nice start if they can begin with a new house.

We all looked through old photographs. Carole and I walked to Harry Ramsden's at 9.30 and I saw her on a bus homeward. I return home via Thorpe Lane and just about freeze to death for the second time today.


Saturday January 31, 1976

Marita, 21. John & Maria get engaged. However, this historic and fabulous event was marred by my antics this afternoon when I 'finished' with Carole on the phone at 2.45.

It was something I decided to do last night, and is something I regret having done. She wept and said she loved me and wanted to know my reasons, and so I went down to meet her at the White Cross. I marched down Thorpe Lane wrapped only in a scarf and was soon frozen stiff. Carole met me walking down the lane and we both walk back to the Cross. She couldn't stop crying and I became horribly upset by it. Her devotion and love for me was so clearly obvious, and I realised that life wouldn't be the same without her. Both blue with cold and wet with tears we walked towards Menston, and stood weeping on each others shoulders near Highroyds Hospital. I asked her to go on loving me. Don't ask me why I changed my mind because as far as I was concerned I had finished with her, and all I had to do was walk away, but when it came to it I could not take my arms from around her.

She went into Guiseley to get John & Maria a present and I returned home with a severe case of frost-bite.

Later: Met Carole at her place at 7.15 and go over to the Hare & Hounds immediately. For one and a half hours we're on our own. The others begin to roll in at 9pm and Mum & Dad come in with Jim and Molly.

Maria's engagement ring is a diamond set in white gold and looks perfect. The party starts at about 11 and is a great success. All the mob came suitably furnished with presents.

Chris and Christine were the last ones to leave. John went to bed at about 2.30 and spewed his guts up. Sat up with Dave B, Lynn, Carole, Maria & Mum until about 6am.



Friday January 30, 1976

January has certainly been a hectic and eventful month. To make matters worse Helen L came in tonight sporting an engagement ring from her boyfriend in Worcester, and the shock of both Helen and John's news proved too much for CD to bear. She was near to tears and needed a few strong drinks to revive her.

Carole was quiet again. John says it's because Maria has not asked her to play at bridesmaids, but I cannot believe she'd be so childish. Her mood is because John & Maria's future seems secured, whilst ours just meanders along. Her childishness at times staggers me and makes me say and do rash things that I regret.

I come home with John and Maria in the spitfire at about 11.15 and sit brooding in the dining room about Carole. I just don't want to see her again. A clean sweep will make things better. Oh I don't know really. Is it just a phase I'm going through?

to be continued

Thursday January 29, 1976

I had my hair cut at lunchtime and took the rest of the day off.

Dad takes me to the Hare & Hounds at 8 o'clock and we have a quiet drink together. We discuss the forthcoming wedding.___________.

At 8.30 Carole and I go the Fleece in Horsforth, and Chris came in shortly afterwards. He tells me he is to be transferred to Batley and is taking a cut in salary and will have to buy a car and will probably have to cancel his holiday. This is all we bloody well need. It seems as if Peter and I will have to pack the Ibiza plan in too because we can't go with just the two of us.

We go down to Chris's where Maria and John look tired and exhausted. The poor things have had a strenuous, overpowering few days I know, and they go home at 10 o'clock to get some decent sleep.

Chris shows Carole and I the 1975 holiday film and brings us home in his Dad's car after 11. I play the Santana LP which Carole, bless her, bought me today, and go to bed at 1.30.

Mum and Dad are round at the Macdonalds until after 3am.


Wednesday January 28, 1976

John and Maria come round this evening to discuss the wedding plans and things. Peter and Dave also came up, but I'm not seeing Carole until tomorrow.

They discuss the usual things, viz bridesmaids, flowers and cards and I suggest Delia Collis (Sarah's mum) for the flowers, because she's something of an expert in the flower arranging department. I will get an estimate from Sarah tomorrow.

I am confirmed as the 'best man' and feel nervous already at the prospect of giving a speech to the assembled multitude on March 13.

I say they should hire a Rolls-Royce for the occasion, but Maria astounds me by saying a Rolls costs £50 an hour to rent.

I depart to bed at 12. Everyone is in high spirits about the wedding.

P.S. My future sister-in-law is a Scot. She was born in Glasgow. You'll all be thrilled by that morsel of information.

P.P.S. Saw Marita on the bus at 4.20 and informed her of the engagement. It will be her 21st on Saturday.


Tuesday January 27, 1976

I despatched a letter to David in Worcester on the John/Maria subject. I hope he'll get home for the celebrations this coming weekend.

Work was quite busy and I'm still doing the YP indexing with Sarah, who tells me, incidentally, that her father has been promoted and sent to Sheffield. Is this goodbye to Sarah Collis? If it is I won't bother coming all the way to the YP from Ripon, because she's the only decent person in the place.

I come home from work to find Dad in bed completely taken over by 'flu, and Mum isn't in a much better state, and is making dinner.

John rushes in and has a bath and then goes straight to see the priest (Father Scannell), with Maria, at Burley-in-Wharfedale. John hob nobbing with Roman Catholic priests in the dead of night! Who'd have thought it? You could knock me down with a feather, you really could.

It came to me today that my life with John is more or less over. For twenty years we have seen each other every day, and it's going to be hard getting used to not having him around. For 20 years we've shared a bedroom, and in just over six weeks he'll be gone forever - sad really.

Molly Macdonald rings at 8.30 to confirm that the wedding day is March 13, and it will take place at Burley, and that the reception will be at Acacia House, and that each family can have 25 guests each not including the principal participants. I am confimed as best man, and Lynn, Susan and Elizabeth will be bridesmaids. I'm having a nervous breakdown.______________.

Bed at midnight after no sighting of the -happy couple'. _________.


Monday January 26, 1976

Mum wasn't feeling too well on Saturday and the shock of John's announcement last night has just about finished her off altogether. She had a day in bed, but by the time I arrived home she was cheery and discussing engagement presents with Susan.

John and Maria went too see the priest at the RC church in Burley-in-Wharfedale this evening and came home with tales of hilarity about the old devil. They think the 'big day' is to be March 13, but I don't think it's definate yet. (Our great-grandfather John Wilson was born on March 13, 1853 - just thought I'd mention it.)

John asked me to be his 'best man' and I'm on the edge of my seat with the excitement and terror of it all. God only knows where it is all going to end - and I hope that the wedding bells aren't going to give Carole any ideas because she's going to be disappointed if she expects similar treatment. __________.

To think I have always had John 'married off' as it were, in these pages, to Carol Smith, Naomi Downing and of course dear Christine White, but I don't think I've mentioned the 'does this mean wedding bells?' with him and Miss Maria Christine Macdonald.... or have I?

See the Peter Sellers film 'What's New Pussycat' or something. A brilliant film, and as far as I am concerned Peter Sellers can do no wrong.

Carole rang at 7 and we talked for half an hour or so. I don't think we'll be going out until Thursday night and am surprised to hear that she hasn't spoken to Mrs Phillips since the latter told Molly Macdonald that I had short arms and long pockets. No doubt all will be patched up between them in good time.



Sunday January 25, 1976

3rd Sunday after Epiphany. After a restless night I eventually get up at 11 o'clock. John lays cowering in bed and I feel miserable for him. The whole thing seems like a dream - and I expect to wake up from it any moment. To make matters worse I have a hangover and my nervous system in general just can't take much more.

John looks at the situation objectively. One regret is that he may well have to dispose of his car.

It snows for most of the day and it's bitterly cold. Carole and I go for a long walk through Hawksworth and we are near to hysterics after the events of the weekend.

Coming back to our place I pass what seems like the longest afternoon I have ever experienced. Carole and I frantically whispering. The television seemed to be devoted to Mothercare advertisements and references to marriage and children.

After tea Carole, Mum, Sue & Peter and I watch the film 'The Italian Job' and at 9.30 I take Carole down for her bus. I chase home in freezing conditions and play cards in the dining room with Sue & Pete.

John and Maria come and sit with Mum. I hope and pray that they will tell her before 'bedtime'. Lynn and Dave come in at 10 o'clock and our card game comes to a sudden end when Dave says that John & Maria have told Mum the news. Dad comes in ten minutes later and we all sit down with a bottle of whisky. Mum & Dad take the news like angels. Shocked and speechless.

At 12 o'clock John takes Maria home with the task of breaking the news to the Macdonalds. I shall report on that event in tomorrow's entry.


Saturday January 24, 1976

I am in a state of great shock and acute excitement. Carole left at 10 o'clock before I got up and I didn't stir until 12.

John went off to see Andy at the Station on Henshaw Lane and I did nothing at all until lunchtime.

Dave L rang and I was surprised to hear he's home for the weekend. God knows what he'll be doing tonight because Linda hasn't invited him to her 21st.

Carole rings at 2.30, or 3 o'clock and John and I go round to Maria's. Richard Wellock and a friend are there supping tea and Carole is looking shifty, and I wonder what the Hell is wrong. Richard and friend go and Carole and I are left alone listening to the Santana LP. Mr & Mrs Mac go out and John and Maria are sitting in the dining room.

Carole looked at me and said: "We didn't go shopping to Leeds this morning, you know." I replied "what did you do then?" And she said: "It's something to do with Maria." I felt my knees knocking together. The truth rushed over me like a waterfall. She is pregnant. John's going to be a daddy in August, and I am going to be an uncle. I cannot describe the emotion of it all. Happiness mixed with a reserved sense of doom. He will be 20 in September and Maria will be 18 in July. What Mum will say I just cannot imagine.

At the Yorkshire Rose for Linda's 21st John and Maria announce that they are getting engaged next Saturday. Chris and a few others soon find out that she's pregnant, and Peter M is upset that John won't be able to go on holiday with us in July. Get drunk, and go back afterwards to Maria's until 2.30. They're telling her parents tomorrow and so I'll make myself scarce before the announcement.

And to think that last Wednesday I was joking with Maria about her being pregnant and now it's all true.


Friday January 23, 1976

My financial situation isn't very good at the moment and we go to the Hare & Hounds with light-weight wallets and purses. (Carole isn't in a better monetary state either).

Peter M stormed out of the Hare after Chris told him he was going back out with Christine. I was chuffed to hear from Chris that I am responsible for getting them back together. Christine says she'll kill Pete if he doesn't stop acting so childishly, but I keep telling her that the poor lad is completely besotted.

Have no funds to go to a disco and have to fork out £2 for a camera for Linda's 21st tomorrow.

Carole and Maria are going to Leeds tomorrow morning so I'll be able to have a few hours extra in bed.

We come back to our place and watch a film and then sit talking until 3am. Lynn sat with us for ages chatting about her job. (She handed her notice in tonight, and her boss brought her home). I tell her she should go on the stage or screen. She'd make a brilliant actress. We all have a good laugh really.



Thursday January 22, 1976

Booked my Spring holiday for May 3-10th. Carole and I, with Chris and Christine, are going to Worcester, all being well, and I can hardly wait to have yet another rave-up in Sacha's with all those cheap shorts.

Go to the Mecca in Bradford with Carole and her Mum & Dad on the Highroyds loony bin staff annual piss up. See Shelley Masterson with her husband Clive. Also see Barbara who isn't with Shelley & they seem to have fallen out. I hate the place and don't particularly like Mrs Phillips (she's rough). However, Carole and I have a good time which is spent rotating around the building sipping gin and orange which is abominably priced.

Home at 1.30 and leap straight into bed.


Wednesday January 21, 1976

To the Hare & Hounds with Carole, John, Maria, Chris and Christine. Now that the two Cs are going out again it means that the whole of the 'happy family' are paired off with few exceptions.

For some reason Carole and I forget the squabbling and we get on like in olden times. Have the usual passionate scene at the bus stop and trot off home.

See the late current affairs programme 'Tonight'. A revolting old judge is blubbering away saying that most murders are 'accidental' and that no man really wants to kill another man. This loony has obviously sat in court with his eyes shut for the past 60 years, because even I know otherwise.


Tuesday January 20, 1976

I ignored the alarm clock this morning and got up in a panic at 8.15. John drove me into Guiseley, and I managed, by some stroke of heavenly providence, to catch the 8.20 33 bus.

Do the indexing with Sarah all morning then complete the list of top christian names for 1975. I devoured piles of sandwiches for luncheon, and then showed Eileen how to file cuttings. So all in all, it's an industrious little day at the YP.

The weather is shocking at the moment. People are being crushed in freak winds and gales. The weather has all gone to cock in the past few years and I can forsee the day, not too far ahead, when Royal Ascot week in June is cancelled because of snow, and when temperatures reach 90F on Christmas Day.

I'm worried about the Carole affair. I would hate to hurt her in any way, but feel she is too dependent on me. I loathe responsibility of any kind and feel horror struck by the way she relies upon me for everything. I don't want to cut off our relationship completely, but wish I could have more freedom and time to go out seducing other nubile wenches. God! I am only 20. I don't want to be stuck with one woman at my time of life! Aaarrghh! Yes, I know I'm a hard hearted, vain, self-seeking swine, but at least I admit it. Lots of you would be ten times better off if you'd only accept your own faults and vices once every so often.

Go with Mum and Dad to the Commercial - and John of course. We have a goodf night. I wish we could go out in a family group more often than we do. Dad likes us to go out with him.


Monday January 19, 1976

I'll be glad when Wednesday is over and done with and the 40,000th edition of the Yorkshire Post is out of the way. Sydney Burton and I have been buggering about with the old files now for what seems like months.

The 40,000th edition is on Wednesday which is the day before the 75th anniversary of Queen Victoria's demise, and the day after the 40th anniversary of the death of George V. It's a pity really that King George couldn't have hung on for an extra day, or on the other hand it's a shame that Queen Victoria didn't die a day earlier.

From 3pm until 5 I helped Sarah go through the YP birth columns for 1975 to discocer the most popular christian names. James and Elizabeth are in the lead at the moment and I'm surprised really. Elizabeth doesn't seem particularly popular to me at all.

Kathleen says that she's been to the Henry Jenkins pub many years ago and remarks how nice it is and that it's a typical country pub.

Later: Carole rings me to say she thinks I want to finish with her and that I'm just being 'nasty' to make her finish with me first. Being a typical coward I cannot end it and say nothing when she keeps asking me if I want to stop seeing her. I inform her that I soon become bored and that I'm a restless, roving soul. She understands and concludes: "Oh, I am relieved that it's all settled and worked out for the best". Nothing is settled or worked out at all, as far as I can see.


Sunday January 18, 1976

2nd Sunday after Epiphany. I wake at 11am and lay about in bed listening to the radio for an hour. John's bed is still in the same condition it was in at 2 o'clock this morning - unslept in, and I assume that he spent the night at Maria's.

Mum and Dad go off for the afternoon at 12 and Lynn and Dave follow in the same pattern shortly after.

Susan is down at Peter's, and I am left quite alone until Carole comes up at 3pm. I make bacon, sausages and toast for lunch and listen to records until 2, when an Erroll Flynn film based on the 1745 rebellion is screened on the BBC in glorious technicolour. Carole came at 3, and Sue and Peter followed shortly afterwards.

We didn't say much all day really. I can honestly say the more I see her the more I feel we should make a complete break of it. After all, six months is about as much as any man can stomach - when 20 years old anyway.

Miss Linda Smith rang at 6pm to warn me to be 'prompt' at her 21st birthday party on Saturday._________.

We (Carole and I) stay in to watch another film on the BBC and David takes her home at eleven o'clock. No doubt Carole had another good weep on Dave's shoulder when he dropped her at her house. I'll have to question him about it on the morrow.